Japan Stocks Rise as U.S. Jobless Claims, Europe Debt Costs Ease

Japan Stocks Rise
A pedestrian is reflected in an electronic stock board in Tokyo. Photorapher: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Japanese stocks rose for a fourth day, with the Topix Index gaining the most since October, as falling U.S. jobless claims fell and lower European borrowing boosted the outlook for exporters.

Toyota Motor Corp., a carmaker that gets about 70 percent of its sales overseas, gained 4.1 percent. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. jumped 5.1 percent after Bank of America Corp., the second-largest U.S. lender, swung to a profit. Real estate companies led gains among the 33 Topix industry groups as Fuji Media Holdings Inc. offered to buy Sankei Building Co. for more than double yesterday’s closing price.

The Topix climbed 2 percent to 755.47 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, its sharpest advance since Oct. 27. For the week, Japan’s broadest benchmark gained 2.8 percent. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.5 percent to 8,766.36.

“Investors are starting to reverse their risk-avoidance stances globally,” said Juichi Wako, a senior strategist at Tokyo-based Nomura Holdings Inc. “Money is flowing into the U.S., where the fundamentals are good, and then is spreading out to the rest of the world.”

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.1 percent today. The gauge advanced 0.5 percent in New York yesterday after a report showed U.S. initial jobless claims dropped by 50,000 to 352,000 in the week ended Jan. 14, beating economists’ estimates as it fell to the lowest level since April 2008.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan’s biggest publicly traded lender, jumped 5.1 percent to 350 yen. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. advanced 4.3 percent to 2,373 yen.

Euro Yields Fall

European stocks gained for a fourth day, extending a five-month high for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, as Spain sold bonds at lower yields. The debt auction helped the euro strengthen to a two-week high of 100.06 yen today in Tokyo, boosting the value of income at Japanese companies that sell products in the region.

Japanese exporters advanced. Toyota rose 4.1 percent to 2,729 yen. Canon Inc., the world’s biggest camera maker, climbed 2.4 percent to 3,430 yen.

Developers gained the most on the Topix after Fuji Media said yesterday it plans buy the rest of Sankei Building for 740 yen a share. The broadcaster’s real estate unit soared by its daily limit of 80 yen, or 27 percent, to 377 yen.

NTT Urban Development Corp., Nomura Real Estate Holdings Inc. and Daibiru Corp. also rose on speculation the three units of large Japanese companies could be bought out by their parents. Nomura Holdings Inc. said the developers were cheap in a note to clients yesterday.

NTT Urban, Daibiru

NTT Urban Development, controlled by Japan’s biggest fixed line phone carrier, jumped 6.3 percent to 57,100 yen. Nomura Real Estate climbed 6.8 percent to 1,193 yen. Daibiru Corp., which is half-owned by Mitsui O.S.K Lines Ltd., soared 7.1 percent to 499 yen.

The Topix tumbled 19 percent last year amid concern U.S. growth is sputtering and Europe’s debt crisis will damage the banking system, damping demand in two of Japan’s biggest export markets. The decline has cut the price of shares on the index to 0.9 times book value. That compares with 2.1 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in the U.S. and 1.4 times for the Europe Stoxx 600 Index in Europe.

Fujikura Ltd. and Furukawa Electric Co. gained the most in the Nikkei 225 after Nomura Holdings Inc. said the fines in an antitrust case against wire harness makers by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission were in line with informal notification made in July.

Fujikura surged 9.7 percent to 238 yen, while Furukawa Electric, which was not fined, soared 9 percent to 194 yen. Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd. rose 5.5 percent to 903 yen.

Dainippon Screen Manufacturing Co. declined the most on the Nikkei. The maker of chip equipment fell 2.8 percent after climbing 6.4 percent over the past three days.

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